The new Companies Bill 2012 – How does it impact you?

The Companies Act of 1956 will now be replaced by the Companies Bill of 2012, which can also be called The Companies Act 2012. Only the President’s assent is pending for this bill, been pending since 2011 to become a reality. The 309 page document tries to clear a lot of conflict points present in the Companies Act 1956 that have been a pain for companies over time and a reason for a lot of legal cases. So how does it impact corporate India & in general, You? Of particular interest to us is how this Bill/Act will address issues of Governance, Responsibility, Transparency, Diversity, Community and Sustainability. Let me try to dissect a few key changes that this bill aims to bring out in the above areas. This might be a longish post so please pardon me for the lack of brevity. 1. CSR being made close to Mandatory Yes, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not mandatory but the new bill will make sure that companies have to work really …

Why should you embrace Sustainability – Part 2 of 2

This blog post is a continuation from the post I had made previously here where I spoke about how the language of Sustainability is changing. In this post, I focus on some cases where Sustainable practices followed by companies are putting them in good stead while in some cases, how lack of sustainability thinking and planning has risked their revenues and reputation. First, we start with some positive stories. CEMEX – The Patrimonio Hoy Program So when you are a giant construction materials group with over $15 billion in revenues, but seeing a 50% drop in revenues, what do you do? Cemex went back to basics, understood that there is a large market at the bottom of the pyramid in poor people constructing their own homes, and decided to work this market. Integrating sustainability into their core business model, Cemex started a financing program called Patrimonio Hoy. It provided poor people access to building materials (not just cement), financing options to purchase material and technical help through CEMEX team comprising …

Why should you embrace Sustainability – Part 1 of 2

It’s been close to 3 years since I’ve been trying my bit to practice being resource efficient and persuade organisations to become more Sustainable. And boy, how times have changed. From being talk-talk-talk to talk-implement-talk, large companies worldwide have certainly made the leap. The same cannot be said about Indian companies though. In India, there have been a lot of conversations happening on this subject, but the examples of real action are far and few. For a long time, “Sustainability” focused initiatives had been looked upon as costs and not investments and therefore had been consistently moved down the hierarchy of priorities, even for organizations known to be Champions of Sustainability. And when the Sustainability agenda was embraced, the reasons given was about reduction of costs, meeting customer expectations (branding) and engaging employees. In-fact, here’s what my slide on ‘Why should you become Sustainable?’ looked like – 2 years. (I agree, the design is a bit hideous, but we keep learning ). Focusing on the content, the reasons said: Compliance …

SEBI releases FAQs for Business Responsibility Reporting

SEBI, in its circular dated dated August 13, 2012, mandated inclusion of Business Responsibility Report (BRR) as a part of the Annual Report for top 100 listed entities. This was in-line with the ‘National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and  Economic Responsibilities of Business (NVGs)’ as notified by Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Govt. of India. While this move was welcomed by the watchdogs, development sector, businesses and shareholders alike, there was confusion for specific cases among the organisations planning to release a report. Based on various queries received from these organisations, SEBI has released this FAQs to provide some answers. You can download the complete document from SEBI’s website here. Summarising the content of the FAQ’s, these are the basic rules/guidelines we can think of to help you file your Business Responsibility Report well: 1. While Business Responsibility Reporting is mandatory for all the top 100 listed companies, other companies are encouraged to report as well. 2. Try to stick to the format prescribed by SEBI. This is to ensure …

Introduction to National Voluntary Guidelines – Business Responsibility Reporting

  Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, in July 2011, came out with the ‘National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business’ – NVGs. SEBI – as a part of its circular on 13th August 2012, makes it mandatory for top 100 BSE and NSE listed companies (as on March 2012) to disclose their Business Responsibility Practices through a report adhering to the NVG framework. Are you on the list? Check here. If you are in the list then read on… Even if you are not, nothing stops you from reporting how responsible you are in conducting your business. So read on in either case… The NVG Framework talks about Sustainability. Govt. of India, through the National Voluntary Guidelines want companies to: Give back something to the society Be responsible Be accountable for its actions and Be sustainable in itself and in the environment it operates in. That’s not much to ask for, is it? Also, NVGs are applicable to all businesses operating in India and …

State of Sustainability Reporting in India

India, even with it’s moderate growth over the last 2 years is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It stands 10th in the world by GDP third in terms of PPP among the world. Even when the US, EU, Japan and other large G8+5 countries have seen stagnant or low growth rates, only China and India have managed a steady growth of 7.8% &  5.4% respectively. With growth comes pressure on resources, social inclusion and environmental stability. Both India and China are continually facing issues such as inequality, poverty, environmental pollution, corruption, public health and the like. With the line between public responsibility and private initiative blurring, the popular opinion is putting pressure on private players to be responsible in their activities, go beyond financial performance and contribute positively to the social, economic and environmental well-being of the nation and society at large. In short,  companies are under pressure to become more Sustainable. While most of the companies have been able to heed this call, a lot …

Safeguarding Biodiversity – The Conference of Parties on Biodiversity, Hyderabad, 2012

Today, the CoP on Biodiversity Convention of 2012 starts in Hyderabad. To last till 19th October 2012, the CoP is going to be one of the largest activities in the world to safeguard and promote bio-diversity. The World at Risk! Life on Earth can be as simple as a fly, or as complex as an ecosystem of coral reefs. The most unique feature of Earth is the existence of life, and the most extraordinary feature of life is its diversity. Tragically, today biodiversity is disappearing at 1,000 times the normal rate due to human civilization. As human population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the biodiversity crisis will only get worse as more people consume more resources. When one species disappears, it imbalances the food chain, which may cause some critters to over populate while others starve – the loss of one can impact many. The major causes of biodiversity decline are Habitat loss and destruction, Global climate change, Invasive alien species, Over-exploitation, Pollution and contamination. Even our …

Walking the energy beat: Cuffing carbon for smaller buildings

Source: Greenbiz.com In the classic cine-crime series Dragnet, fast-talking Los Angeles detective Joe Friday is well known for the trademark line “Just the facts, ma’am.” In other words: “Let’s dispense with the distractions and get to the point.” So it is with small and midsize enterprise energy-efficiency projects — theory turned to practice speaks louder than words. Projects are rendered in fact and this is the action in the neighborhood of great potential. But walking the efficiency beat can be messy and complicated. It requires management; no one wants to pay for audits or analyses or anything else, for that matter. Decisions are not driven by the return on investment. Contractors are lax, contracts vague, incentive programs counter-productive. And projects can take longer than you think they should for a myriad of unfathomable reasons, not the least of which is “human factor.” So, if you’re going to pursue these projects you need to be patient, thorough, respectful and patient. The simple purpose of listing the successful efficiency projects you’ll find …

Nokia Releases 2011 Sustainability Report and New Company Strategy

Source: Triplepundit.com For a long time, whenever I heard the brand name Nokia, only thoughts of virtually indestructible analog cell phones with the Snake game (remember that? hours of entertainment.) came to mind. These days, however, Nokia stands for much much more, especially in terms of its sustainability and social responsibility initiatives. In fact, Nokia has been issuing sustainability reports since 2002, and 2011 marks no difference in that respect. This past year’s report does, however, reflect several monumental changes in the technology company’s strategy towards sustainability and social responsibility. The 2011 report reflects this new strategy within three central pillars: A partnership with Microsoft to deliver industry-leading smartphones using the Windows phone operating system that meet Nokia’s strict environmental requirements. The goal to connect those with limited economic means to the benefits of mobile communications with the February launch of Asha, a range of devices offering consumers smartphone features like touch screen, QWERTY keyboards, and games at lower, more affordable price points. A focus on “future disruptions” – technology, business, and process areas that Nokia …

Green murder for biodiversity meet!

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com How does the city welcome its international delegates for the upcoming CoP-11 Biodiversity Summit? In a shocking irony, the municipal corporation is playing its signature tune of apathy. It has in the last two days chopped off the lush green cover dotting the stretch of road leading to the CoP-11 venue, HICC. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has in a master stroke axed over 150-200 trees to widen the road from Hitex to HICC. And what exactly triggered this green murder? This road will be used for vehicles entering and leaving the summit venue. And to support the twisted plan, this leafy stretch has been stripped to its last leaf over the weekend, trees piled up on six trucks and transported . The irony of it all seems lost on the powers that be. The GHMC has put up many hoardings coaxing people to appreciate biodiversity ahead of CoP-11 and planting all kinds of shrubs and trees on road dividers and islands, but the message of conserving this biodiversity …

Need something?

Search here

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 644 other subscribers

Popular

Blog Categories

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 644 other subscribers